Tag Archives: poetry challenge

Hidden Freedoms

Child of Empire, he freely starved in Valetta
Free to resent the many fat priests
Free to go
Desperate, hoping

Stowaway to Istanbul
Free to be beaten by the Ottomans
Sent back to hunger
Not stopped yet

Stowaway to Britain
Set loose in Imperial London
Free to prosper
Free to work

Free-diver repairing Brighton’s Pier
Freely volunteered in 1914’s Expeditionary Force
Free to marry, to be British
Free to stay

Forty descendants, freely British
Freely given gifts of a Maltese boy
Seven fought in British wars
Immigration can be a free gift

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Written for Today’s National Poetry Day, which this year has the theme of Freedom.

As usual, when given a prompt or theme, my mind heads off slightly askew. This poem tells some of the story of my Maltese Grandfather. He came to Britain as a stowaway with nothing, found welcome and work. We need to remember how many of us are descended from people like him — and to remember to allow others similar freedoms.

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Future

As we move through space
We move through time
One controlled
The other inexorable

As the future approaches
We can but hold our head high
Wait for the chances
Have the courage to leap

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The last  poem from the challenge I’ve been following for a short while. This poem is in response to the prompt ‘future’.

Landscapes

My poetry is often triggered by landscape
By empty skies and lonely hills
Or the scattered beauty of an archipelago
I struggle
Again and again
To paint with watercolours
What I can paint with words

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Another part of the daily challenge I’m following for a short while. This poem is in response to the prompt ‘landscape’.

Bookivore

Reading on a screen is a hollow sham

Handling a real book
Feeling it’s weight
Looking at its cover
(Often old fashioned)
Turning paper pages

The way a second hand poetry book
Can fall open at a poem
That was once loved
And repeatedly read
By a stranger

All pleasure

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Another part of the daily challenge I’m following for a short while. This poem is in response to the prompt ‘pleasure’.

Orphan

Poetry is the orphan of silence
Begging for  attention
Word spaces and line breaks
Her crutches
Whatever the poem describes to you
Is  a shadow
A portion
A flavour
Of what the poet is trying to say

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Another part of the daily challenge I’m following for a short while. This poem is in response to the prompt ‘flavour’. The first line is a quote from the poet Charles Simic.

Suomenlinna

From Suomenlinna’s low cliffs
Several islands lie
Incomplete and rudimentary
Dusky pink in glinting waves
Seeming large
Until a ferry passes to provide scale

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Another part of the daily challenge I’m following for a short while. This poem is in response to the prompt ‘imperfect’.

….And yes, I skipped yesterday……..busy taking my eldest back to university………

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Ferry

Smoky tendrils reach out to sunlit waters
As Baltic sea mist creeps to Helsinki
Coming to market for Cloud berries perhaps
Ferries leave Market Square and slowly disappear
Once at our island destination
(A cold journey with no sights to see)
The jetty is disembodied
Fragmentary in fog
Walking reveals low rocky terrain
Suddenly a sunlit beach
From where we watch
A second larger island slowly appear
On a journey out of the haze

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Another part of the daily challenge I’m following for a short while. This poem is in response to the prompt ‘Journey’.

Boy Migrant

Boy Migrant

He haunts me
A young boy
Mid teens
A lad like mine
Seen on the news bulletin
Scrambling over razor wire
Raised to protect Fortress Europe
From the migrant tide
From him and his like
But these were children, boys
Far from home, searching for safety
Fleeing from disaster
Alone

 

Other ghosts have returned
Living skeletons
Toddlers the size of newborns
Eight year olds that look like toddlers
Flies settled on their blank eyes
Pot bellies distended with death
Once more I weep
As the news plays on
Once more I am ashamed
To live in paradise
While the majority suffers
Watching their children die
Or sending  them on a perilous journey

 

I don’t have to send my son away
Across a continent
To avoid death
To avoid being forced to be a soldier
To avoid starvation, disease
To escape that ultimate killer
Poverty
But if I believed that his safety
Is to leave home
Go through immense danger
To reach the promised land
I would surely send my son away
To take that journey

 

Hope will take you through hell and back
These are children
Those travelling boys need a home
Need  mother and  father
Need to be children
These children have been surely stripped of it all
I weep for the starving, denied a life
I give money for aid and comfort
Is that aid and comfort to me as well?
Am I a Good Samaritan?
Or just trying to salve a conscience as I continue with my life?

 

Each night I wake thinking of that boy hiding in the bushes in Hungary
I pray to a God I no longer believe in
Look after that boy, to keep him safe
I want to give him a home
I want to hold him and tell him it’s alright
That we will look after him
I need so much to treat him as my own
We are all family in the end
All human beings on the road
Between birth and an ending
We are each but a moment way
A moments bombing from displacement and death
I feel helpless in the face of an unfolding situation that is inhumane

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Written and posted in response to  Peter Notehelfers ‘A Voice for the Voiceless poetry Challenge’.

Written for a boy I  saw on the news many months ago and for the starving children in Yemen today.